Azerbaijan’s Radar Station Will Add to American Missile Shield in Europe – Experts

Politics Materials 10 April 2008 10:13 (UTC +04:00)
Azerbaijan’s Radar Station Will Add to American Missile Shield in  Europe – Experts

Russia, Moscow, 9 April / Trend corr E. Tariverdiyeva, R. Agayev/ The Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan will not replace but probably add to Washington's plans on deployment of missile shield elements in Europe.

"The Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan will add to the missile shield envisaged for Poland and the Czech Republic, not replace it," American expert Charles Kupchan said.

The United States plan to deploy missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland in order to prevent attack from the 'evil area' to which Washington refers Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Moscow considers the United States' arguments to be unconvincing and regards deployment of the missile shield elements near to the Russian borders as a threat to its national security.

Russia offers the United States to jointly use the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan for missile shield purposes, as well as the radar station being constructed in Armavir, Russia, instead of deploying missile shield elements in Poland and the Czech Republic. Last Sunday, the US President and that of Russia again discussed the problem in Sochi.

The United States and Russia held constructive discussions on missile shield, which includes studying the ways of Russia's participation and its neighbouring countries in development of the system, Kupchan, the Professor of the Washington-based Georgetown University and the expert of the US National Security Council, said to Trend via e-mail on 9 April. "The Sochi meeting between Bush and Putin was very cordial, probably emerging from recent improvement of relationships between Moscow and Washington," Kupchan said.

"In this aspect it is clear that the Azerbaijani radar station will be probably somehow included in the system, which will finally lead to development of the missile shield in Europe," expert said. According to Kupchan, the main positive point of this meeting was absence of irreconcilable differences on main issues of the Russian-American relations. "The principal agreement between USA and Russia was reflected in the 'strategic frameworks' signed at the summit meeting, but the issues on anti-missile defence, control over armament, nuclear weapon proliferation still remain open," the expert said.

According to Mikhail Remezov, the Russian expert, Russia's proposal on Gabala RS, was taken by Washington as quite normal. " U.S. said that it is ready to consider this variant with great pleasure as an addition to its missile shield in Europe, but not as an alternative to its system," said to Trend Remezov, the President of Russian Institute for National Strategy.

According to the analyst, taking into consideration its important military and technical role and geo-strategic location, U.S. can use this project, but it is not sure yet whether the U.S. will use it together with Russia.

" Russia is most likely to recognize the position of U.S. on missile shield, as the political position of Moscow has actually weakened and will weaken in the near future because of the change of government. The weakening of international position is a natural after change of government, especially in such a weak international and political system as in Russia. On the other hand, U.S., as it is obvious from the statements, helping Russia to save face in this regard," said expert and added that it has not been decided yet what the cooperation will be like.

"It will either be some kind of inspections or there will be Russian radars. However, I am sure that this cooperation will not rule out that the missile shield in East Europe will be directed against Russia as well," Kupchan said. Steven Hedley, the U.S. President Consultant on National Security said that the U.S. and Russian presidents can leave the discussion of missile shield to their successors.

U.S. sees all opportunities for further cooperation with Russia in missile shield, said Daniel Freed, the assistant to U.S. Secretary of State on Europe and Eurasia. According to Freed, his statement concerns Gabala and possible American system in Poland and Czechia, the prospects of cooperation with NATO, and Russia as well, ITAR-TASS reported.